BP Announces It Will Cut Oil and Gas Production 40 Percent

Statement by Kathy Mulvey, Union of Concerned Scientists

Published Aug 4, 2020

WASHINGTON (August 4, 2020)—Building on its February presentation on climate change, BP announced today that it expects to cut the amount of oil and gas it produces by 40 percent by the end of the decade as part of its pledge to emit no net global warming emissions by 2050. The company provided few details back in February, but has promised to outline a comprehensive plan at its Capital Markets Day in September.

Below is a statement by Kathy Mulvey, the fossil fuel accountability campaign director at the Union of Concerned Scientists

“BP’s announced strategy of reducing oil and gas production by 40 percent is a breakthrough that ratchets up the pressure on its competitors—particularly ExxonMobil and Chevron, which still refuse to commit to reduce emissions from the use of their products. This move by BP also sends a market signal about how profitable the company sees oil and gas versus clean energy.

“BP appears to be undertaking a dramatic pivot to remain competitive and relevant in a carbon-constrained world. If the plan to grow its renewable energy portfolio while shrinking its oil and gas operations comes to pass, it will signify a real shift in the very nature of the company.

“Of course, if BP reduces emissions from its oil and gas production by selling operations to other companies, that won’t slow global warming. But other investor-owned companies also are feeling the pressure to reduce emissions to net zero, and oil and gas assets are not the appealing purchases they might have been a decade or so ago.

“We look forward to evaluating BP’s strategy as the company provides further details in September. We need answers to numerous questions, including: How is the company defining 'low-carbon' and is it erroneously including investments that facilitate further fossil fuel extraction under that umbrella? What assumptions is BP making about the feasibility of carbon capture and storage? Who would pay to bring the technology to scale? And finally: Will the company set firm targets and make concrete commitments to which it can be held accountable by investors, policymakers, and the public?”